Dan Slevin recommends preparing for for the Oscars by renting and streaming some previous winners.
Update: It has been drawn to my attention that A Master Builder is not, in fact playing on NZ Prime Video as I thought. I'm looking into why it showed up on my feed but not on my screen. Apologies for any inconvenience. DS
The Oscars are on their way and a few previous winners have been added to the rental download slates of both Apple, Google Play and – occasionally – Lightbox. Recent Academy Award winners 12 Years a Slave (Best Picture, etc. 2014), Dallas Buyers Club (Leading Actor for Matthew McConaughey, Supporting Actor for Jared Leto, etc. 2014) have just reappeared and, going further back, Cold Mountain (Best Supporting Actress for Renée Zellweger in 2004), Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts for Best Actress in 2001), Raging Bull (Robert De Niro for Leading Actor and Thelma Schoonmaker for Film Editing 1981) and Some Like It Hot (Costume Design 1960).
It behoves me to mention that Apple has the first three at a significant rental discount compared with the other two services.
On the streaming front, you can now watch the winners of the 1997 Leading Actor (Jack Nicholson) and Actress (Helen Hunt) awards in As Good as It Gets on Prime Video.
Lightbox also has an exclusive on the Kiwi classic Footrot Flats: The Dog’s Tale (which features John Clarke as the voice of Wal Footrot) but is sharing the spaghetti westerns The Good, the Bad & The Ugly and A Fistful of Dollars with Apple and Google.
Back to the streaming services, we find the Netflix original Velvet Buzzsaw (which premiered at Sundance last month) and stars Jake Gyllenhaal reuniting with his Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy as an art critic terrorised by the supernatural forces contained in some mysterious paintings. Steven Soderbergh has a new Netflix film this week, too: High Flying Bird stars André Holland as a basketball player agent trying to support his players during a lockout. It’s Soderbergh’s second film to be shot entirely on an iPhone.
Netflix has also just added the breakout hit of 2017 – Jordan Peele’s superb and original horror Get Out as well as the Matthew McConaughey 2009 rom-com Ghosts of Girlfriends Past in case you are interested in a different kind of horror.
Neon are premiering the Steven Spielberg adaptation of a science-fiction novel about gaming and popular culture, Ready Player One. I liked the film much more than the book, but I know some book-lovers who are scandalised by the liberties that Spielberg takes with their text.
Finally, Amazon’s Prime Video has just added (or re-added, who can tell) Jonathan Demme’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s masterpiece of late 19th Century theatre, The Master Builder. Retitled A Master Builder, Demme’s film casts Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride) as the tyrannical architect Solness and his relationship with a younger woman (Lisa Joyce). It’s based on the 2013 stage production directed by Andre Gregory who is a regular collaborator with Wallace Shawn, hence the famous arthouse film My Dinner with Andre (1981).
Every week around this time, Dan Slevin highlights some of the best and most interesting feature films that are new to Kiwi streaming services.